25 September 2013
H. E. Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif,
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran
At the Special Event of the General Assembly on the MDGs
(which was delivered in written to the Secretariat)
New York,25 September 2013
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
His Excellency, Mr. President of the General Assembly,
His Excellency, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations,
Your Eminencies, Distinguished Heads of States and Governments,
Distinguished Ministers, Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives,
It is a great pleasure for me to participate in this very important Special Event, which is dedicated to focus on the gaps and weaknesses, and the acceleration of the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, as well as looking forward to the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Let me at the outset associate myself with the statement delivered by Fiji on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
As we are all aware, we have about 825 days to fulfill our commitments on MDGs and intensify all efforts in this regard. My delegation appreciates all the efforts made in the process leading up to this Special Event, which itself will result in an agreed declaration, focusing on the gaps and weaknesses, and the acceleration of the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, as well as looking forward to the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is a middle-income country with a population of 75 million and gross domestic product (GDP) of nearly $350 billion per annum. Annual GDP per capita growth has averaged 3.5 per cent per annum. Over the years, Iran has successfully delivered basic services such as health, education and electricity to its people and is an early achiever or on track to achieve most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.
The “Country Programme Document for the Islamic Republic of Iran (2012-2016)”, in its introductory part says “[p]rogress has been most notable under MDGs 1, 2, 4 and 5. Good progress has been made under MDG 7, particularly with respect to improved sources of water and phasing out of ozone-depleting substances”.
It continues to say that Iran’s accomplishments in social and human development can also be seen in a significantly improved HDI, which rose gradually from 0.67 in 2005 to 0.70 in 2010, owing mainly to the health and education indicators.
Sound social policies and significant resource allocations to social sectors over a long period of time, which has averaged nearly 40 per cent of the government annual budget, and the increased overall human capital development, which further enabled improved social development and social services provision, account for Iran’s notable success.
It also stresses that Iran has made significant progress in women’s education and health since 1990 and further efforts are being made to address female unemployment and the low number of women in high decision-making bodies, such as the Parliament.
Given its location in one of the most seismically active regions of the world, Iran is the sixth most disaster-prone country in the world. Iran has developed an internationally recognized and effective disaster preparedness and response capacity at the national and local levels, but disaster prevention and risk reduction are areas that will continue to require longer-term and extensive efforts.
The Islamic Republic of Iran’s status of implementation of MDGs is very well reflected in the background information of the report of the United Nations Development Group, entitled “Report of the Post-2015 Country Consultations” in the Islamic Republic of Iran, which was carried out by the UNDP on behalf of the UN Country team in February-March 2013.
While sincerely commending the role of the UN and the work carried out by the UNDP and other UN organizations, this report highlights important progress in Iran’s human development record over the past three decades, which was also reflected in the 2013 UNDP Human Development Report (HDR) titled “The Rise of the South”.
According to the HDR, Iran’s Human Development Index value – for the year 2012 – stands at 0.742. This puts the country in the “high human development” category, that means Iran’s current HDI position is 76th out of 187 countries.
This Report also says “however, what is really important – and what should be commended – is Iran’s progress in human development when measured over the past 32 years; Based on the HDR findings, between the years 1980 and 2012, Iran’s HDI increased in value by 67 percent. This represents an increase at an average annual rate of about 1.6 percent.
This report continues by saying that having attained the status of a Middle Income Country, Iran is now a significant contributor to the “Rise of the South”.
Nonetheless, the tasks ahead of us are equally significant; despite these impressive achievements, the Report indicates that there remains certain critical development needs in the country; for instance, unemployment and inflation are persistent challenges.
It is noteworthy that for the remaining 850 days of the MDGs and also in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, there is a lesson to be learnt and that is what Iran’s HDR highlights: “these achievements have taken place in a context where, for the past three decades, and for a number of well- known reasons, Iran has not been a mainstream recipient of significant bilateral or multilateral aid. Nor has Iran been a major recipient of advanced technology for development purposes”.
The unjustified sanctions imposed upon the Islamic Republic of Iran since 1979 indicates a clear double-standard amongst those countries crying wolf at the humanitarian situation in Iran and the other developing countries.
The report says, Iran has nonetheless risen to the “high human development” category in comparative terms and this impressive achievement demonstrates a high level of resolve and commitment to human development. Though Iran has demonstrated its determination to address the challenges, there is no doubt that the stumbling blocks on the way to the achievement of sustainable development goals need to be addressed globally and on a country-based circumstances.
My delegation extends its warm hands to those in the UN development system and beyond who sincerely wish for the betterment of human life and humanity, in remaining days of the MDGs and creating a set of development agenda that would be considered as the cornerstone of development goals in the United Nations in the years to come.
For that very reason, the Islamic Republic of Iran strongly adheres to its active involvement in all the processes established as a result of the Rio+20 Summit on sustainable development, and strongly hopes that the intergovernmental process envisaged in the final declaration of this Special Event for the integration of all the inputs, culminating in a Post-2015 Development Agenda, would be tailored in a way that benefits all the Members of the United Nations.
I thank you, Mr. President.